The 1997-98 UEFA Cup season culminated in a thrilling all-Italian final clash between Internazionale and Lazio, marking a historic moment for both clubs. Internazionale clinched their third title in the competition within an eight-year period, delivering a dominant performance that secured their place in football history.
The highly anticipated final, for the first time, was a single-game encounter at the neutral Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, a departure from the previous format, which had featured two-legged contests with each team playing a home game. This change introduced a new dynamic to the tournament, amplifying the excitement and anticipation among football enthusiasts.
The 6th of May, 1998, witnessed a resounding victory for Internazionale, as they showcased their formidable prowess on the field, securing a commanding 3-0 win over Lazio. The goals from Zamorano at the 5th minute, Zanetti at the 60th minute, and Ronaldo at the 70th minute exemplified the team’s unwavering determination and skill, leaving a lasting impression on the 44,412 passionate spectators in attendance. The match was skillfully officiated by Antonio López Nieto from Spain.
The 1997-98 UEFA Cup season also marked a notable increase in representation from certain nations, with France notably being represented by seven teams, including Strasbourg, Auxerre, Bastia, Nantes, Lyon, Bordeaux, and Metz. Shifts in the access list were also observed, as Spain secured a slot previously held by Germany, and the Netherlands gained a place at the expense of Russia. Furthermore, Ukraine, Czech Republic, and Hungary earned spots that were previously occupied by Israel, FR Yugoslavia, and Poland, the latter of which replaced troubled Albania in the competition.
With the reduction of the access list to 102 clubs, the exclusivity of the competition was heightened, with only the 16 best national champions excluded from the Champions League group stage gaining entry into the UEFA Cup. Internazionale’s remarkable performance in the final not only solidified their status as a football powerhouse but also etched their name in the annals of the prestigious tournament’s rich history.